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Everything You Need to Know About the Momentous Habitat III

A beginner’s guide to what will take place at the United Nations conference, and why it matters for the future of cities.
A laborer wields at the construction site of a bridge in New Delhi.
A laborer wields at the construction site of a bridge in New Delhi.Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

For the next several days, more than 30,000 mayors, ministers, policymakers, and urbanists will flock to the city with one of Latin America’s largest and best preserved historic centers to make a plan for the future.

They’re gathering in Quito, Ecuador, for the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, better known as Habitat III. The four-day summit, beginning Monday, takes place once every 20 years, and is a chance to develop a sustainable plan for a rapidly urbanizing world.